1977 rape and murder of elderly North Carolina woman solved using DNA, police say


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More than 40 years later, the rape and murder of a 77-year-old woman has been solved after detectives took another look at the case and made a breakthrough using DNA evidence, Raleigh police said Wednesday.

According to police, Alma Jones was raped and killed in 1977. In 2011, 34 years after the crime was committed, the “case was revived when the box it was stored in had been discovered during a transfer of older case boxes.”

After reviving the case, homicide detectives once again investigated the crime, and a DNA profile for the suspect was developed, police said. Based on the DNA profile developed by Othram, Inc., the suspect responsible for the rape and murder of Jones was Paul Crowder, detectives determined.

Crowder died in 2015. Police obtained a saliva sample from one of Crowder’s family members and that confirmed he was the person who raped and killed Jones, officials said.

After consulting with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office, it was determined that the case has been “exceptionally cleared,” according to the release.

“While we recognize that this conclusion will not ease the pain and loss the family has experienced, we are pleased that they finally have resolution to something they have lived with for a long time,” said Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson. “Diligent, thorough investigation and follow-up by detectives have led to this moment.”

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